“Tellin’ the Truth in Their Own Words”: A Critical Race Qualitative Analysis of Ethnic Minority Law School Students’ Experiences

Terrell Strayhorn 1 *

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp. 25-45

OPEN ACCESS   1356 Views   738 Downloads

Download Full Text (PDF)


The purpose of this study was to explore the law school experiences of underrepresented racial minorities (URMs) enrolled at predominantly white institutions (PWIs), paying close attention to the nature of their racialized academic and social lives on campus. Drawing upon one-on-one and group interviews with 29 ethnic minority law school students at three PWIs, I identify the myriad factors that law school students of color consider when choosing, enrolling, and/or persisting through law school. In consonance with the beliefs and standards of phenomenological research, I use information from these extensive interviews to describe the essence of their law school experiences, paying close attention to any racialized challenges, supports, or opportunities using critical race theory (CRT) as a lens. Verbatim quotes from participants are presented to illustrate the depth, meaning, and context of the findings in their own words. Results from the present study hold promise for informing the future decisions, programs, and practices of law school administrators, legal educators, diversity officers, policymakers and enrollment management staff more generally.

Keywords: critical race theory; qualitative; case study; interviews; legal education.